speed force justice league

Justice League/Warner Bros.

‘Speed Force’ jokes defined the surreal tone of the 2022 Oscars

This random 'Justice League' scene was a memorably weird moment for a memorably weird Oscars night.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 28, 2022   Updated on Apr 11, 2022, 2:14 pm CDT

While most of this year’s Oscar winners were predictable choices, the ceremony was anything but.

The defining event was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock live onstage, but the night was peppered with other weird moments, building an atmosphere of surreal hysteria. One such element was the much-maligned duo of “fan favorite” polls, where viewers could vote for their favorite film of 2022, and their favorite “cheer moment” (whatever that means) from cinema history.

Thus, the night’s funniest running joke was born: Speed Force.

Both polls were won by Zack Snyder films: Army of the Dead for fan favorite movie, and a scene from Justice League for cheer moment. So in the midst of giving serious awards to films like Coda and The Power of the Dog, the Oscars paused to show an out-of-context Justice League clip titled “The Flash Enters The Speed Force.”

Does the average viewer understand what the hell that means, or why this scene was included in the first place? Doubtful! But since Oscars Twitter loves weird, chaotic nonsense, Speed Force references became a recurring meme as the night wore on.

There’s a definite sense that “The Flash Enters The Speed Force” is what the Academy deserved for introducing these polls in the first place. They brought this ridiculous moment on themselves.

The original goal was to attract “mainstream” audiences to the supposedly elite atmosphere of the Oscars, celebrating hit movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home alongside the official nominees. But since these fan-favorite categories were selected by an online poll, they just catered to the most perseverent voting block: Zack Snyder fans.

The Academy was already facing criticism for including these polls while cutting eight Oscar categories from the live telecast, but the whole Speed Force thing tipped the situation into a state of pure absurdity. Sure, Zack Snyder has a passionate fanbase. But it’s deeply silly to suggest this random Justice League scene is somehow iconic. “The Flash Enters The Speed Force” is also totally irrelevant to everything the Oscars stand for, making it a perversely appropriate choice for the chaotic and mismanaged vibes of last night’s ceremony.

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2022, 9:31 am CDT